×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Conjuring 2’ to Ward Off ‘Warcraft,’ ‘Now You See Me 2’

“The Conjuring 2” should cast a powerful enough spell to ward off “sequelitis,” the phantom plague that is infecting Hollywood’s biggest franchises this summer.

The horror film is eyeing a debut of more than $35 million, which should be enough to keep the weekend’s other newcomers, “Warcraft” and “Now You See Me 2,” at bay. That’s below the first film’s $41 million opening, but still represents a solid result for Warner Bros., the studio behind the $40 million New Line production.

“The Conjuring 2” reunites director James Wan with Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, who return as a husband and wife team of paranormal investigators. This time the duo travel across the pond to get the skinny on a haunted house just north of London. The time zone has changed, but the 1970s backdrop and Farmiga and Wilson’s disco-ready clothing remain. New Line will debut the film in 3,343 locations.

There’s something far scarier than whatever is keeping real estate prices low in the English countryside. Studio executives’ collective blood pressure is rising as one major film series after another falters or falls flat. In relatively short order, pricey follow-ups such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” have all stumbled or flopped at the box office. That’s bad news for an industry that has grown reliant on tentpole franchises to hold up their film slates, and its left some analysts and industry folk questioning whether or not the movie business is returning to the well too many times, leaving consumers hungry for originality.

“The Conjuring 2” will have some company as it battles this existential threat  (which naysayers are calling a manufactured media narrative). It’s a problem also facing Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2.” The thriller about a team of illusionists brings back original gang members such as Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Mark Ruffalo, and adds Daniel Radcliffe to the mix. It cost more than $90 million to make and is looking at an opening of roughly $23 million (which is a drop from the $29 million debut of the first movie in 2013). “Now You See Me 2” will premiere across approximately 3,200 screens.

Then there’s “Warcraft.” Legendary and Universal’s video game adaptation has developed a reputation as a troubled production. Partly because its warrior creatures look like “Fraggle Rock” outcasts and partly due to its $160 million price tag. Despite the mixed buzz, foreign audiences have cottoned to the fantasy adventure. After three weeks of international release, “Warcraft” has racked up roughly $75 million internationally, and is resonating particularly strongly in countries such as Russia, France- and Germany.

It’s also looking like a monster in China, having generated $20 million in advance ticket sales prior to its Wednesday premiere. There is speculation that “Warcraft” could end its first five days in the People’s Republic with more than $100 million in receipts. That should go a long way towards cushioning the film from a mediocre domestic launch. “Warcraft” is eyeing a $25 million stateside debut when it opens across 3,396 North American theaters.

Though movie theater owners will no doubt be happy to see crowds show up for “The Conjuring 2” after a few rough weekends, true salvation won’t arrive until “Finding Dory” opens on June 17. Disney and Pixar’s animated follow-up to 2003’s “Finding Nemo” is projected to rack up more than $115 million when it premieres,  washing Hollywood’s fears about “sequelitis” out to sea.

More Film

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content